Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Critics, supporters debate Latimer ‘mercy killing’ ruling

February 29th, 2008

Disability advocates fear appearance of leniency puts vulnerable at risk; Latimer’s supporters call for legal reforms

From the [Toronto] Star:

People with disabilities are expressing fear and disbelief over public reaction to the day parole of Robert Latimer. The Saskatchewan farmer had served seven years of a life sentence on a second-degree murder conviction after asphyxiating his daughter in the cab of his truck. Twelve-year-old Tracy had cerebral palsy.

… Advocates for people with disabilities are concerned any appearance of leniency may put other vulnerable people at risk.

… The Council of Canadians with Disabilities, a Winnipeg-based legal advocacy group, believes “Tracy and her right to life have been forgotten” in the public reaction to the case.

… “This isn’t about one man,” says Anna MacQuarrie, policy analyst at the Canadian Association for Community Living. “Tracy had a serious disability, not a terminal illness. Robert Latimer did have alternatives. It’s time to focus on the bigger issue and that is attitudes to disabilities.”

From the London [Ontario] News Free-Press:

Member of Parliament Joe Comartin said the development is bound to ignite parliamentary debate, but called it a “cop-out” to look at legalizing assisted suicide or lenient sentences for mercy killings without first addressing inadequate community support resources.

He said governments must first work to provide services, support and supplies to help the ill, disabled and desperate.

Parole Right Choice, by Mindelle Jacobs in the Edmonton [Alberta] Sun:

Latimer’s murder conviction was obviously an anomaly but the case is unfortunately being used as a soapbox by fear mongers within the disability rights movement.

And while I don’t think Latimer should have killed Tracy, he is as far from a cold-blooded murderer as one can imagine.

… Do we really believe people convicted of mercy killings deserve the same punishment as some of our worst murderers?

The fact that Latimer is the only person ever jailed for such a crime suggests that Canadians favour legal flexibility in this area.

That could mean a separate category for compassionate homicide in the Criminal Code, as some countries have, or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for murder.

Sympathy is Misplaced, by Roy Clancy in the Edmonton [Alberta] Sun:

The real threat posed by this decision is that it might send a message to others charged with the care of those as vulnerable as Tracy Latimer.

… Once we legally endorse the right of one person to kill another because of their disabilities, we unleash a dangerous threat to the lives and well-being of the severely handicapped.

From the [Toronto] Globe and Mail:

Robert Latimer is expected to arrive in Ottawa, likely in the next few days, to challenge the legislators whose policies helped keep him in prison for seven years.

From the National Post: Latimer out to clear name

“He wants to have better access to the government,” said Ivan Bjornholt, Latimer’s friend and host of the Web site robertlatimer.ca. “That’s why he wants to go to Ottawa, so he’s not just writing letters to them that fall on deaf ears. He can actually maybe have a meeting with somebody.”

Latimer, 54, has always maintained that killing 12-year-old Tracy was an act of mercy. Since his incarceration, he has written judges and politicians numerous letters about his case, which are posted on Mr. Bjornholt’s Web site.

One Response to “Critics, supporters debate Latimer ‘mercy killing’ ruling”

  1. Larry Wanger Says:

    Thanks for gathering and sharing all of this information about the Latimer case. The disability community in the US needs to pay more attention to this.

Leave a Reply

Comment

Please copy the string kFtZ44 to the field below:

 
`

About the Site

More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

Join journalist Patricia E. Bauer as she seeks to bring you the best information about what's happening now and what it may mean for you and your loved ones.

Read More »

Search

Categories

Read More »

Not2BeMissed

Read More »

Entertainment

Read More »

School Restraints

Read More »

Prenatal Diagnosis

Read More »

Obama Administration

Read More »

My Articles & Essays

Read More »

FAQs

 

Headlines

Read More »

News2Use

Read More »

Mailing List

Sign up for our mailing list!





RSS Our RSS Feed



Archives
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007